As a pregnant mom, do you feel pulled in every direction? Moms do the work of many, fitting what could be numerous full time jobs into one day, one moment at a time. For the pregnant mother of multiple children, the task of preparing to have a baby while raising your other children can sometimes seem insurmountable. And the guilt of coming up short can be overwhelming.
Do you remember those joyous days when your first child was in your womb? You could sit quietly with him or her tumbling around inside of you, imagining their little noses and form a connection right then and there.
How times change!
With subsequent pregnancies, you are lucky to sneak a quiet moment or two at any point in the whole term! The children around you, your work, your daily responsibilities – they all add up. The journey into motherhood is paved with a constant effort to adapt to life while prioritizing your children.
Enter: Mom Guilt
We can all relate to this shift in priorities. The second time around, mentally preparing to have a baby can be especially worrying, since you’ve never loved two children before. If you can’t focus on her now, how much worse will it be when she is out and demands so much more of your time?
This is how mom guilt whispers to us, telling us we aren’t doing enough, won’t love enough, can’t be enough for these little people around us.
Forgive yourself, mama, and understand that you ARE enough! We each do the best we can with what we have, and something amazing happens – our babies seem to understand! If your baby can forgive you for not sitting quietly and focusing on your womb, or staring into their eyes undistracted, or whatever lofty visions we had for our pregnancy and mothering – then we should be able to forgive ourselves, as well. Shake off the guilt; you have no use for it!
Self-Care Makes Good Parenting
Forgiveness is more than just feeling better about things, though. We’ve got to be proactive in taking care of ourselves so that we can take care of our little ones. If we still can’t take time for self-care because we feel guilt, we haven’t really beaten mom guilt and we haven’t really forgiven ourselves.
During pregnancy especially, taking care of your body is taking care of your baby. When you are chasing little ones and nourishing a pregnancy, you have to prioritize self-care or you will all burn out before it’s time to actually have a baby!
4 Ways to Prioritize Self-Care in Pregnancy
Guilt is a sneaky villain – if you’ve ever felt guilty for not taking care of yourself because you had felt guilty when you tried, you know this. Keeping self-care simple allows you to make it a priority without feeling like you’re being pulled in yet another direction. Stick to the basics to set yourself and your family and your growing little one up for success.
So many discomforts of pregnancy can be alleviated with good hydration. As much as your body needs good food, as we’ll talk about in a second, you can’t skimp on water. Keep a water bottle with you at all times, with a lid that you don’t have to remove fully to drink. A lost lid means a bottle you won’t want to carry around when the kiddos might spill it. Facilitate these concerns so that you have no excuse – just a full bottle of cool water whenever you need it.Another trick is to fill a gallon jug of water each morning just for yourself.Pour your water from this so that you can see the water you are drinking and either feel accomplished or adjust as necessary the next day.
In all the fuss of caring for kids, nesting, and all of the other obligations of life during pregnancy and childrearing, a mama’s meals are all too easily ignored. That grumbling tummy may keep you eating, but that doesn’t mean you are eating well. To quote a Midwifery Today article on the topic.
While pregnancy is a normal alternative condition for the female body, it is stressful, and all nutritional needs are increased in order to meet the needs of the pregnancy.
It’s not just your mind and emotions feeling stress before you have a baby; your body feels it, too. Take some time to prep nourishing foods for the week, or ask for help stocking your freezer with good, easy meals. It’s okay to ask for help. Your body and your baby deserve whatever it takes to be fed nourishing foods.
When we sleep, our bodies are able to carry out restorative functions that help us to recover from the day. Pregnancy is a time when this is absolutely vital. Your whole body, head to toe, is working so hard to grow this new little one, and that much harder to keep up with your others.If you can establish rest times during the day for you and your children, it’s an excellent use of time. No amount of nesting or daily chores compares to the benefits of good rest.
If not, however, a good night’s sleep is even more important. Unfortunately, difficulty sleeping is a real and frustrating thing in pregnancy. From getting comfortable to getting up to go to the bathroom to just plain pregnancy insomnia, sleep may be coveted but it can be hard to come by.
Use plenty of pillows as needed to keep your body comfortable. Establish good bedtime routines to help your body relax into sleep mode. And when you need it, my pregnancy sleep tincture is an excellent support for restful, restorative sleep.
By valuing connection, we can prioritize the new relationship with our baby and the continued relationships with the members of our household during the whirlwind of pregnancy. Remember that the most important thing isn’t the dishes or the project or the busy work that’s stressing us out, but the connection we are building with each other as the magic and wonder of pregnancy and birth unfolds.
- Setting aside quality time as a family can help us refocus on our relationships with each other, without the distractions of day to day life.
- Planning a blessingway can help you to connect the community with your baby and your process.
- To focus on baby for a little while when it seems you’re being pulled in all directions, some quiet meditation can build connection and remind you of the joy that it is to create new life! I’ve recorded a guided meditation to help you build and maintain connection with your growing little one.
- Most importantly, be gentle with yourself. Love your body for doing amazing things. Love your little ones for forgiving you so freely even when you don’t forgive yourself. Love your growing baby for reminding you to breathe.
How do you intentionally take a step back from the demands of pregnancy and parenting to take care of yourself, body and spirit?
If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a tight community to help a mama keep her cool during the process! Speak up in our little community and share the ways you have made self-care a priority in pregnancy, or ask your questions about self-care, mom guilt, and “doing it all” while pregnant.